Geothermal Update, January 27, 2015
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There is plenty to talk about now so I will get right to it.
Please help us by signing and sharing our petition to stop night time drilling:


In this update
A report from the noise committee (below)
PPA sent two letters in response to PGV's stated intention to break county law: one to the DLNR asking them to require PGV to show cause why their permit should not be revoked for failing to follow all laws, rules, and regulations and the second to Mayor Kenoi asking him to support our request to revoke PGV's permit (click the links to see the letters.)
Also, we could use support this Thursday if you can make it. PGV will hold a public meeting to answer questions Thursday 1/29/15 at 7:00 pm at the Pahoa Community Center. It would help if we get a lot of people there.
Information relevant to the PGV meeting this Thursday
After review, PPA believes there is no reasonable basis for PGV's claim that it is exempt from the night drilling ban.  Details about the applicable law and documents are on our website --
August 7th
A freedom of information act (FOIA) request appears to show that 2 emergency relief valves lifted while everyone was trapped in their homes during Tropical Storm Issell. PGV only told us about one valve, even at a public meeting after the fact. It looks like these 2 unabated H2S leaks were in addition to the gases release through ESR system activation.

We believe these leaks were significant, lengthy and resulted in injuries in the community. PGV's numbers, like the report itself are not credible. In our opinion PGV has been wrong or misleading so often there is no reason to have confidence in PGV's estimate of the H2S released during the storm.


On October 20, 2014, there was a serious H2S leak into the community, that lasted over an hour and is possibly a permit violation. PGV's explanation about this serious and sustained H2S plume released 10/ 20/2014 is not consistent with facts and events recorded on a Jerome air sampler and witnessed by many first responders and community members.
PGV blamed the smell from one leak on a dead pig and laughed about it, before they were caught. Did PGV discipline the employee for misleading (lying to) the first responders and community? Yes, they made him plant manager. The point is PGV has demonstrated an intentional willingness to mislead, misrepresent, and lie about what they are doing, and what they are doing to us. Feel free to ask them about any of this.


Additional Information
DOH hearing
The State Department of Health has agreed to hold a public hearing for PGV's Clean Air Permit renewal. We will need as much support as possible. The date and location have not been announced yet. We are asking them to hold that hearing in Puna.  What you can do now is e-mail and/or phone (808) 586-4200 (between 7:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m) to thank them for having a public hearing and ask that it be held in Pahoa.

Report from PPA drilling noise committee

To support our efforts to document noise and other impacts of the PGV drilling, we've created a new Google group called Lower Puna Neighborhood Public Nuisance Watch.  To join the group, please send an email to from the email address you want to use for the group.
This group is for anyone who thinks they may have negative impacts (for example, noise, dust, vibrations, odors from the drilling or operations) or from anyone who wants to support our efforts to encourage the State and County to regulate industrial corporations in residential areas.
If you think you've already signed up and haven't received an invite yet, please send another note to so we can make sure you're included.



PGV says it will drill a new well in violation of County law.  In 2012 the drilling of Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) production well KS-15 caused continual disturbances of nearby residents.  An outpouring of complaints about noise, light, vibration, dust, fear of toxic exposure, etc., led the Hawai`i County Council to pass Bill 292 that, when signed by the mayor, became Ordinance 12-151, effective December 5, 2012.  Codified as Hawai`i County Code § 14-114, the law says “Geothermal resources exploration drilling and geothermal production drilling operations being conducted one mile or less from a residence, shall be restricted to the operating hours of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.”

Recently PGV announced plans to start drilling a new geothermal well, KS-16, this month (January 2015) and also announced their opinion that "the ban doesn’t apply to PGV since it already had a state permit for drilling"  (when the law was passed in 2012.)  However, nothing in the law supports such an opinion. Code § 14-114 simply and unambiguously prohibits night drilling, with no exceptions.

PGV has a DLNR drilling permit issued on December 16, 2014, for KS-16 and that permit requires PGV to comply with County law.  

HAR § 13-183-65(d) provides that the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) may order revocation or suspension of the KS-16 drilling permit if drilling “is not being done in accordance with conditions of the permit or these rules....”  PGV’s drilling at night in violation of County Code § 14-114 is not in accord with its drilling permit or with Hawai'i administrative rule § 13-183-54(b), as both require PGV to comply with County law. Therefore, Puna Pono Alliance has asked BLNR to order PGV to show cause why the permit should not be revoked for that reason (and also has asked Mayor Kenoi to support the request.)

We also have started a MoveOn petition named PGV Drilling Violates County Law that says, "Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) says it will drill well KS-16 in violation of Hawai`i County Code § 14-114 (“Geothermal ... drilling operations being conducted one mile or less from a residence, shall be restricted to the operating hours of 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.”) We call on Gov. David Ige and Mayor Billy Kenoi to require PGV to obey the night drilling ban."

When Jack Weber from Pahoa signed the petition he said, "please write your [Hawai`i County] Council member, and the others, and kindly yet firmly ask that a RESOLUTION be enacted to uphold the law."  That is an excellent idea, and Jack provided the following email addresses for Council members:   (808) 961-8018   (808) 961-8272  (808) 961-8396  (808) 965-2712  (808) 961-8026  (808) 323-4277  (808) 323-4267  (808) 323-4280  (808) 887-2069

Also, MoveOn provides a reporting tool -- -- to give feedback if you contact an official in support of the night drilling ban.  You can also contact Gov. David Ige, 808-586-0034, and Mayor Billy Kenoi, 808-961-8211.

This issue illustrates how PGV appears to have become a self-regulating operation. They have been led to believe they are a law unto themselves, such that if they choose to do something that helps the community then there should be public gratitude, but if they choose to help themselves then there should be tolerance in the community.  That is not realistic, especially when the community has suffered many upset conditions, disturbing noise and additional harms. A County law is not an optional matter.  You can tell PGV that directly at their next community meeting on Thursday, January 29, at 7:00 p.m. at the Pahoa Community Center. You can also tell the Department of Health at the public hearing on PGV's air pollution permit.  And you can tell County Council members, the Mayor and Governor that PGV should not be allowed to ignore the law.  

See you at the PGV meeting on Thursday.


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